> Skip to content
  • Published: 7 May 2019
  • ISBN: 9781786090515
  • Imprint: Windmill Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $22.99

Girl, Balancing




A powerful, moving and exquisite short story collection, published posthumously, from the bestselling and prize-winning author Helen Dunmore

Haunting, uplifting, beautiful: the final work from Helen DunmoreHelen Dunmore passed away in June 2017, leaving behind this remarkable collection of short stories. With her trademark imagination and gift for making history human, she explores the fragile ties between passion, love, family, friendship and grief, often through people facing turning points in their lives:

A girl alone, stretching her meagre budget to feed herself, becomes aware that the young man who has come to see her may not be as friendly as he seems.

Two women from very different backgrounds enjoy an unusual night out, finding solace in laughter and an unexpected friendship.

A young man picks up his infant son and goes outside into a starlit night as he makes a decision that will inform the rest of his life.

A woman imprisoned for her religion examines her faith in a seemingly literal and quietly original way.

This brilliant collection of Helen Dunmore’s short fiction, replete with her penetrating insight into the human condition, is certain to delight and move all her readers.

  • Published: 7 May 2019
  • ISBN: 9781786090515
  • Imprint: Windmill Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Helen Dunmore

Helen Dunmore was an award-winning novelist, children’s author and poet who will be remembered for the depth and breadth of her fiction. Rich and intricate, yet narrated with a deceptive simplicity that made all of her work accessible and heartfelt, her writing stood out for the fluidity and lyricism of her prose, and her extraordinary ability to capture the presence of the past.

Her first novel, Zennor in Darkness, explored the events which led D. H. Lawrence to be expelled from Cornwall on suspicion of spying, and won the McKitterick Prize. Her third novel, A Spell of Winter, won the inaugural Orange Prize for Fiction in 1996, and she went on to become a Sunday Times bestseller with The Siege, which was described by Antony Beevor as a ‘world-class novel’ and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel of the Year and the Orange Prize. Published in 2010, her eleventh novel, The Betrayal, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Orwell Prize and the Commonwealth Writers Prize, and The Lie in 2014 was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction and the 2015 RSL Ondaatje Prize.

Her final novel, Birdcage Walk, deals with legacy and recognition – what writers, especially women writers, can expect to leave behind them – and was described by the Observer as ‘the finest novel Helen Dunmore has written’. She died in June 2017, and in January 2018, she was posthumously awarded the Costa Prize for her volume of poetry, Inside the Wave.

Also by Helen Dunmore

See all

Praise for Girl, Balancing

This posthumous collection from the much-loved author, focusing on motherhood, war and women under threat, is an act of tender commemoration… there are new departures on the themes that preoccupied Dunmore: childhood, motherhood, war, friendship, forgotten lives.

Guardian – Book of the Week

Wisdom and wit shine out from Helen Dunmore’s last stories…The simplicity of the writing is deceptive; Dunmore manages to say a lot about families, about the mystery of creativity, and the shock of seeing someone you thought you knew in a new light.

The Times

Dunmore’s gift for period detail combines with the respect she has for her characters’ inner lives to produce an effect that is oddly moving.

Sunday Times

Dunmore’s love of history glints and gleams in this elegant, posthumous collection

The Daily Mail

Whether musing on a portrait of John Donne or a friendship between two widows, the late, much missed Dunmore always has something worth saying

Mail on Sunday, Event – Summer Reads

These stories are mostly tasters, amuses-gueules to tempt new readers, and remind old ones of the future works that have now been lost.

Daily Telegraph

I couldn’t recommend these stories more.

Evening Standard

It was her emotional concision that made her so exceptional, a quality on ample display in these posthumous short stories, more than 30 of them, some absolute gems.

Mail on Sunday

Dunmore’s skill as an observer and chronicler of human behaviour shines throughout this final collection of her fiction

S Magazine, Sunday Express

A mix of historical and contemporary, they’re outstanding and showcase her amazing talent

Good Housekeeping

Dunmore’s writing ranges over a multitude of subjects, from teenagers to centenarians , and all ages in between. With sensitivity and compassion she wrote about passion, family, friendship, happiness, loneliness and grief. She brought an elegant economy of words to her stories, communication her meaning with clarity and finesse. Her family and friend have created a superb memorial to her unique talent and an excellent primer for anyone who has not explored her work before.

The Herald

Sharply observed

Woman & Home

There was no story that didn’t hold my attention from its first sentences.

Scotsman magazine

The best of them showcase Dunmore’s knack for shining a light into the hidden corners of women’s experience

Metro

We too imagine ourselves in the room with her characters, imagine they are talking, like friends, to us

Evening Standard

Lyrical and full of human situations acutely observed.

Choice magazine

[A] remarkable collection of short stories exploring fragile ties between passion, love, family.

Western Morning News

This collection is the finest swan song of a writer full of sensitivity, talent and an immense grasp of the complexity of human nature.

The Opinionated Reader

Related titles